NGINX Gains in Netcraft December Web Server Survey

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Over 300 million websites came online in the past month, according to the December 2016 Web Server Survey from Netcraft, bringing the total of responding sites to over 1.7 billion, an 89 percent increase from the 900 million counted in January. In the December survey, NGINX market share increased by 3.2 percent, Microsoft’s by 1.6 percent, while Apache’s market share of total sites fell 2.2 percent.

NGINX gained across all metrics for the month, the only major server vendor to do so, and it is gaining on second place Microsoft, though Apache still holds a healthy lead, just as it does in active sites and among the million busiest sites.

Millions of Tumblr blogs switched from NGINX to the NGINX and LuaJIT-based OpenResty platform in September, and OpenResty also now serves many sites hosted by Chinese host Raksmart, Fastly, DigitalOcean, and AWS. The number of sites served by OpenResty exploded from 760,000 in January to almost 15 million, and active sites leapt from 200,000 to 5.8 million, and it is now the 9th most popular server by web-facing computers.

Microsoft gained 520 million hostnames in 2016, growing from just under 29 percent market share to just over 45 percent. NGINX’ increase in market share of active sites (2.85 percent), however, was greater than Microsoft’s. The company’s newest server software, IIS 10.0, was released earlier in the year, but did not significantly impact the number of sites, likely in part because Windows Server 2016, the primary OS for IIS 10.0, only reached general availability in October.

VistaPrint-owned SMB website builder Webs began using Cloudflare’s CDN service in December, dropping it’s “Webs.com/1.0” server completely from its previous position 10th in active sites. Cloudflare uses a customized version of NGINX, Netcraft says, which powered 3.6 million active sites in the latest results.

Netcraft also mentions the arrival of Western Digital My Cloud personal storage devices during the past year. Although they have been on the market for several years, the Network Attached Storage devices, each with a hostname on wd2go.com, reached 680,000 sites in the December survey. Since they run an Apache web server, but are not used like traditional web servers, being for instance more commonly powered off, they have increased the volatility of Netcraft’s data on web-facing Apache computers.

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